NewsCrime and Courts


Bertsch pleads guilty to shooting and killing two people, and injuring two others

Jonathan Bertsch in court on June 26
Posted at 2:20 PM, Jun 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-26 19:53:46-04

MISSOULA — A change of plea hearing was held on Friday morning in Missoula for Jonathan Bertsch, who is charged with shooting four people -- two of whom died -- in March of 2019.

Bertsch pleaded guilty to several charges, including deliberate homicide, during his appearance in Missoula District Court.

Bertsch is charged with two shootings that killed two people and critically wounded two others, including a Montana Highway Patrol trooper.

The first shooting happened March 14, 2019, where Bertsch is accused of killing Shelley Hays, and wounding Casey Blanchard and Blanchard's mother Julie off Expressway Boulevard in Missoula.

Several hours later on March 15, Bertsch is accused of ambushing MHP Trooper Wade Palmer, shooting him several times in the head, leaving Palmer with a traumatic brain injury.

Casey's mother Julie Blanchard died from her injuries in June in a Chelan County, Washington, hospital where she died of complications of multiple gunshot wounds.

A judge set Bertsch's next court appearance for August 31.